Will stop mining in areas if people complain of pollution: Parrikar

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Panaji, April 19 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said he would stop operations in mining leases, if there are pollution-related complaints from local residents.

Speaking to reporters at the secretariat here, Parrikar said his office would not be able to come to the assistance of 45 villagers from Sonshi village in north Goa’s Sattari sub-district, who are incarcerated since April 11, for protesting against pollution caused during transportation of iron ore from mining leases surrounding the village.

“But if the pollution does not stop and the villagers do not want (mining), I will stop the mining production. I have no problem. But then people should not come to me saying that we are now without business, therefore, give us some grant or loan. That also cannot be done,” Parrikar said.

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When asked if his office would take a humanitarian view vis-a-vis the prolonged incarceration of the 45 villagers (including 23 women and senior citizens), Parrikar said: “How I can release them? Here someone had blocked the traffic. So there is a crime committed. Police filed cases, where they were given opportunity to sign bail bond and get released. They refused it.”

The former Defence Minister also pointed out that while the villagers complained of pollution, there were 108 vehicles which were owned by the villagers of Sonshi, which were operating in the mining areas.

“I was surprised to see that people from the village have 108 vehicles operating in the mining areas. So they are also part of the pollution. I am bringing the fact to your (media) notice,” Parrikar said.

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